The Echoes of the Mind (76-1) Earworms


Earworms are songs that stick in the mind. An earworm has an overall melodic shape common in Western pop music: a fairly generic, easy-to-remember melody. One of the most common contour patterns is heard in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” where the 1st phrase rises in pitch, and the 2nd falls.

But an earworm also possesses some peculiar features, such as note repetitions or interval leaps that set it apart from the average pop song.

Musically sticky songs seem to have quite a fast tempo, along with a common melodic shape and unusual intervals or repetitions, like we can hear in the opening riff of “Smoke On The Water” by Deep Purple. ~ American music psychologist Kelly Jakubowski